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Thread: Kung Fu by Giddens Ko (功夫-九把刀)

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    Senior Member deathblade's Avatar
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    Default Kung Fu by Giddens Ko (功夫-九把刀)

    Welcome to my translation of Kung Fu by Giddens Ko.

    Giddens Ko is a popular Taiwanese author and director. The Chinese pseudonym under which he writes literally means "nine knives." To date he has written about 60 books. His directorial debut "You Are the Apple of My Eye" was based on his own novel of the same name. Kung Fu is the story of a Taiwanese middle school student who is obsessed with wuxia novels and ends up learning martial arts from a mysterious old man. A movie based on Kung Fu is currently in production, also directed by the author, and is set to be released in 2014 (according to the news articles) or 2015 (according to the movie trailer).

    Here is a link to some information about the author.

    Here's the teaser trailer of the movie which is supposed to come out next year:
    Youtube version
    Youku version

    Some articles about the movie production:
    ScreenDaily.com
    Filmbiz.asia

    Some photos from the set.




    Table of Contents

    Translated:

    Part 1
    Prologue
    Old Man (1)
    Old Man (2)
    Old Man (3)
    A terrifying annoyance (1)
    A terrifying annoyance (2)
    A terrifying annoyance (3)
    A terrifying annoyance (4)

    Part 2
    Old Man (1)
    Old Man (2)
    A room without walls (1)
    A room without walls (2)
    A room without walls (3)
    Becoming a disciple (1)
    Becoming a disciple (2)
    Becoming a disciple (3)
    Becoming a disciple (4)

    Part 3
    A first glance at the way (1)
    A first glance at the way (2)
    A first glance at the way (3)
    A first glance at the way (3)
    Bam! (1)
    Bam! (2)
    Bam! (3)
    Bam! (4)
    Lan Jin (1)
    Lan Jin (2)
    Lan Jin (3)
    Lan Jin (4)
    Lan Jin (5)
    Lan Jin (6)
    Lan Jin (7)
    Lan Jin (8)
    Lan Jin (9)

    Part 4
    Seafloor (1)
    Seafloor (2)
    Seafloor (3)
    Seafloor (4)
    Three Hundred Years (1)
    Three Hundred Years (2)
    Three Hundred Years (3)

    Not translated yet:

    Part 5

    Part 6

    Part 7

    Part 8

    Part 9

    Part 10

    Part 11
    Last edited by deathblade; 08-24-14 at 02:09 AM. Reason: cut out a bunch of stuff from my original post regarding translation technique and stuff, added table of contents, added some information and resources
    My translations:

    1) 7 Killers by Gu Long. Complete.
    2) Heroes Shed No Tears by Gu Long. Complete.
    3) Kung Fu by Giddens Ko. Work in Progress

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    Senior Member deathblade's Avatar
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    Part 1

    I squatted next to the old man, blocking the vision of my surrounding classmates. From within my bag I pulled out a few hundred-yuan bills and stuffed them into his hand. Sir, I said softly, Im not looking down on you. I just want to help you buy a few meals. But please dont bother me any more, okay? Im a 20th century middle-school student, and in this age, students have to study their books, not go into the mountains to practice martial arts. Im really sorry.




    Prologue

    1986.

    That year, I was 13 years old, an inauspicious age.

    That year, Chang Yu-sheng [1] was still alive, Dave Wong [2] was popular, and Fang Jiwei [3] was still the Sweetheart of the Military.

    Their songs filled my room every day.

    That year, I met him.

    That year, kung fu.





    Old man (1)

    I was a really dull person, at least in the eyes of my friends. There was nothing special about me. I was just a regular middle-school student who conformed to the norms of society.

    Middle school didnt have a lot of homework pressure, and nothing ever happened to get anxious about. Because of the limitations of the time period and my own reclusive personality, I had nothing to do with the outrageous things that some other kids enjoyed, like doing drugs, going on joyrides or getting in knife fight contests.

    Its not that I tried to be dull on purpose, its just that different types of personalities gravitate toward different methods of diversion. As for me, the entertainment bore that I was, I spent most of my leisure time at the book store reading.

    Its not that I read the books at the store because I lacked money to buy them. In fact, my family owned a textile manufacturing company, which was a very profitable industry in the 80s. But I never had any desire to go back to my lackluster house.

    When my dads disreputable comrades turned our living room into a tavern, carousing and being loud, I would duck my head down and dash past them, then head to the book store to read novels.

    I would usually stay for about two hours each time.

    My taste in novels was quite predictable. If it wasnt Jin Yong [4] it was Gu Long [5]. I found the wuxia [6] worlds they created with their pens to be incredibly fascinating. It was a simple world where you could wield a sword and kill scoundrels mercilessly. Much more interesting [7] than my house.

    I still remember the evening I was standing like usual next to one of the tall bookshelves, perusing Jin Yongs The Deer and the Cauldron [8]. It was the part where Wei Xiaobao signs the Treaty of Nerchinsk [9] with the idiot Russians, running circles around the three parties involved: the Qing[10], the Russians, and the Heaven and Earth Society[11].

    After finishing The Deer and the Cauldron I would have completed all of Jin Yongs works for the first time.

    Why dont you read this book? said a hoarse voice.

    I lifted my head and saw an old man standing next to me, looking at me, a book in his hand.

    It was Jin Yongs The Smiling Proud Wanderer [12], which I had finished a long time ago.

    Thanks, Ive read that one already, I said with a smile, then returned to the world of the book in my hand.

    But after a while, I noticed the old mans silhouette, still there next to me. I grew a bit numb as I felt him staring at me.

    What about this book? Its great! It was the old mans voice yet again.

    I had no choice but to look up and glance at the book in his hand. Yep, it was Jin Yongs Ode to Gallantry [13].

    Ive read that one, too. Thank you, I said courteously. An ordinary person like me will always use the appropriate amount of courtesy.

    And courteous old me took a moment to appraise the old mans appearance.

    I couldnt quite tell his age, because Ive never been very good at doing that. But he was definitely old. He wore a dilapidated green Tang suit [14], and the wrinkles on his face that might have indicated his age were covered by filth and secretions. But his decrepitude was apparent from the acrid stench that drifted off of him.

    I was a bit suspicious. Had the old man been sent here by the shopkeeper, a hint to not poke around the store all day reading? As soon as I thought of this, I felt a little bit bad.

    I started to waver back and forth about whether or not to leave, but I also worried what if the old man really was just sincerely recommending books to me? If I just walked off, wouldnt it be a bit embarrassing?

    Id always been kind and timid, and would never do anything to embarrass anyone. Everyone said I was afraid of getting into trouble. Some people said I was easy to bully, and even more people said I was too nitpicky. So I gripped the book and starting trying to decide when to leave. Should I leave? What would be the least embarrassing way to leave? For the moment, I was undecided.

    What about this one? Its brilliant! The old man flashed another wuxia book in front of me. I looked at it sheepishly. It was Gu Longs Meteor, Butterfly, Sword [15]. Frankly, Id found it a bit boring.

    Ive read that one too, Im really sorry. I looked at the man, feeling a little sorry.

    Maybe I should pretend that I hadnt read it, go along with his suggestion and glance through it.

    But the old man didnt seem to want to give up. In fact, his expression looked somewhat approving.

    Youre so young, yet youve read so much! Excellent, excellent. What about this one? From the bookshelf, he pulled out a dust-covered copy of a book from the series Legend of the Swordsman from Mount Zu [16], then waited expectantly for my response.

    Ah! Well, this series I had not read. Because Legend of the Swordsman from Mount Zu was way too long! It was so long, I had no idea how many books were in it. Seventy? Eighty? Haizhu Louzhus maudlin and verbose writing style was just too much for me.

    Oh, I havent read that series. When Ive finished with The Deer and the Cauldron, I said sincerely, Ill definitely read it.

    Unexpectedly, the old mans eyes filled with a strange light. He suddenly raised his voice and laughed, Excellent, excellent! The little kid knows how to separate the wheat from the chaff, to discern the good from the bad. This Legend of the Dog Crap from Zu Mountain is a bunch of nonsense! Sword Saints and Blood Demons? Essence of the Mountain and Lake Monsters? Read it and youll lose a chunk of your soul. Its not even worth glancing at. And then, he gripped the copy of Legend of the Swordsman from Mount Zu in his hands and ripped it in half. He threw his hands into the air, and the ripped pages fluttered about the bookstore like paper butterflies.

    I will never forget how shocked felt.

    It was the first time in my life I had encountered an actual lunatic, and that type of memory is difficult to wipe out.

    But at least I could be certain that the old man was not the shopkeepers assistant, because I could see the flabbergasted shopkeeper himself hurrying over, wielding a broom.

    Out, out! Otherwise pay me for the book! he ordered, suppressing his fury and speaking in a low voice. A few curious customers had gathered round.

    The shopkeeper was a reasonable man. He could see in a single glance that the old man would not be able to pay for it. It would be too much of a pity to report him to the police, considering he seemed to be a little crazy.

    The old man bowed deeply, and in a very regretful tone said, Excuse me for my lack of manners. I got too excited and ripped your book into pieces. I dont have much money on me now, but if possible, I would like to return tomorrow to pay it. I promise to provide both compensation and appreciation.

    The old man spoke with the accent of some other province, perhaps that of Shandong or Shaanxi or Shanxi. I couldnt really tell.

    Just get out, dont interfere with my business! Out, out! The shopkeepers face had sunk.

    The old man scratched his head guiltily, then squatted and began to collect the scattered book pages. Naturally, I squatted too and started to help him.

    Theres no need, theres no need! said the shopkeeper impatiently, urging the malodorous old man to leave. The best way to help me is to just get out of here!

    **

    [1] Chang Yu-sheng was a popular Taiwanese pop singer. In hanyu pinyin his name would be Zhang Yusheng, but since hes Taiwanese Ill go with the accepted Taiwanese way of spelling it. http://goo.gl/iIEQvC
    [2] Dave Wong was a Taiwanese pop producer. http://goo.gl/8nP0gp
    [3] Fang Jiewei was a teen idol singer in Taiwan. I couldnt find any English articles about her, but apparently her nickname in the entertainment industry was Sweetheart of the Military, because one of her songs was extremely popular among the military at the time (and perhaps still is?). Heres an article in Chinese about her with pictures: http://goo.gl/AsBU5l
    [4] Jin Yong is most famous of all wuxia authors http://goo.gl/NMlXg
    [5] Gu Long is one of the other most famous of wuxia authors http://goo.gl/wBjbho
    [6] Wuxia is Chinese martial arts fiction http://goo.gl/69M9
    [7] He literally says that it is cuter than his house. It sounds fine in Chinese, but in English it seems weird, so Im changing it to interesting.
    [8] Heres the Deer and the Cauldron to buy: http://goo.gl/zMpcVq. And to read for free here on the forum: http://goo.gl/SEjDdQ. Heres an article about it: http://goo.gl/HFN7R
    [9] The Treaty of Nerchinsk was the first treaty between Russia and China http://goo.gl/7qC1ua
    [10] The Qing Dynasty was the second to last dynasty of China http://goo.gl/URG4wc
    [11] The Heaven and Earth society is a real secret society with a long history http://goo.gl/XNEIAl
    [12] You can read The Smiling Proud Wanderer here on the forum: http://goo.gl/D8ZHzk. Heres an article about it: http://goo.gl/3JrNG0
    [13] Heres a link to read a partial translation of Ode to Gallantry on the forum: http://goo.gl/h1N19m. And an article: http://goo.gl/WYcHDN
    [14] The Tang suit is a traditional Chinese jacket for men. Heres an article about it: http://goo.gl/g1oRp0. And here are some pictures http://goo.gl/YLchI0
    [15] You can read a partial translate of Meteor, Butterfly, Sword on the forums here: http://goo.gl/K0s80m. And here is an article about it: http://goo.gl/yHHP7v
    [16] Im not very familiar with this story, but in the brief research I did, itm pretty sure its the book that the movies Zu Warriors from the Magic Mountain and Legend of Zu were based on. In pinyin, the Zu should actually be Shu, but considering it appears to be in popular translation as Zu, I will keep it that way.
    Last edited by deathblade; 06-17-14 at 10:31 PM. Reason: fixed random mistake, fixed a formatting error, fixed mistakes found by WesY2K, changed one small bit of dialogue, some of the footnotes disappeared somehow
    My translations:

    1) 7 Killers by Gu Long. Complete.
    2) Heroes Shed No Tears by Gu Long. Complete.
    3) Kung Fu by Giddens Ko. Work in Progress

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    Senior Member deathblade's Avatar
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    If there are other links to translations of the stories or information in the text that I did not put into the footnotes, please let me know! And please point out even the slightest mistakes in punctutation, grammar, spelling, anything!
    My translations:

    1) 7 Killers by Gu Long. Complete.
    2) Heroes Shed No Tears by Gu Long. Complete.
    3) Kung Fu by Giddens Ko. Work in Progress

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    Thank You deathblade for another translation.

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    Great, and thanks!
    Think I came across the partial translated previously which did not go far with it.
    Will be looking forward to this...
    Last edited by ycb5959; 04-28-14 at 03:19 AM.

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    Thank you SO MUCH for this translation, Deathblade!

    Regarding 16: You are right. These are the novel on which Tsui Harks "Zu Warriors from the Magic Mountain" movies are based on. (I think I read somewhere that is like a Kung Fu Star Wars :-D) There is actually one novel by this author that was officially translated into English: http://goldenpigsy.blogspot.de/2011/...zhulouzhu.html

    Possible corrections:
    "my lacklustre house" - lackluster
    "what if the old mean" - old man?
    "He thew his hands into the air," - threw
    Last edited by WesY2K; 04-28-14 at 04:23 AM.

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    Senior Member deathblade's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WesY2K View Post
    "my lacklustre house" - lackluster
    I got my MacBook from Hong Kong and it constantly changes things to British English spelling and I can't figure out how to change it! Lol.
    My translations:

    1) 7 Killers by Gu Long. Complete.
    2) Heroes Shed No Tears by Gu Long. Complete.
    3) Kung Fu by Giddens Ko. Work in Progress

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    Senior Member deathblade's Avatar
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    If you have 1 minutes, would you mind participating in a quick poll? Should I translate the characters' names into English as much as possible, or stick to transliterating into Chinese.

    For example there is a girl named 乙晶. Should it be Crystal (since one of the characters in the name means Crystal). Or should it be Yi Jing or Yijing.

    When the movie comes out next year, I'll conform to however they translate the names for the subtitles (which I bet will be English names), but until then I suppose I have to make the choice myself.

    POLL ENDED ;P
    Last edited by deathblade; 05-08-14 at 02:49 AM. Reason: removed link to poll
    My translations:

    1) 7 Killers by Gu Long. Complete.
    2) Heroes Shed No Tears by Gu Long. Complete.
    3) Kung Fu by Giddens Ko. Work in Progress

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    Voted already - for pinyin. But in my mind, it really depends on the context. And my concern is that we may lose the "chinese story" feel if we have too much "Englishifying" in an already English translated work

    Foxs, another translator, mixes them wellan ongoing translation)

    Thats correct, its me. Her laughter was very sweet. My surname is Ye, Im Ye Ling. Everyone calls me Little Leaf.

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    That is a very tough question because I know there is at least one English name in it without translation :-)

    But I would say go with Yijing and just make a footnote that this name means "Crystal". If this somehow should have a deeper significance later on, you can change it if you like... or give another footnote :-)

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    Quote Originally Posted by ycb5959 View Post
    Voted already - for pinyin. But in my mind, it really depends on the context. And my concern is that we may lose the "chinese story" feel if we have too much "Englishifying" in an already English translated work

    Foxs, another translator, mixes them wellan ongoing translation)

    Thats correct, its me. Her laughter was very sweet. My surname is Ye, Im Ye Ling. Everyone calls me Little Leaf.
    After reading John Minford's translation of Deer and Cauldron, where he English-fied every single name, I realized that it just shouldn't be done, ever. Titles can be english-fied, but not names.

    Thanks for translating this deathblade. You have made my dream come true. Happy is too small a word to express how I feel right now.
    --=={Grundle}==--

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    I agree with Grundle 100% - my standard advice is translate nicknames and sobriquets, but not true names. "Eastern Heretic" Huang Yaoshi is great, but a Minford-style "Eastern Heretic" Pharmacist Huang? "Southern Emperor" Yideng is great, but "Southern Emperor" One-Lamp? Ughhhhhhh. I just vomited in my mouth. Translate the meaning in a footnote and explain it if its relevant for the plot, but for the love of good, don't translate the name in the actual text

    As for Yijing vs Yi Jing, my personal rule of thumb is:

    Three+ part names, separate name and surname: Huang Yaoshi, Linghu Chong, Wei Xiaobao
    Two part names, if the 'surname' is actually a religious 'generational name', combine it as one word: Xuanci, Xuannan, Yilin, Fangzheng
    Two part names, if the 'surname' is a real surname, separate it: Huang Shang, Mo Da, Qu Yang
    Last edited by Ren Wo Xing; 04-28-14 at 10:50 AM.
    Blademaster. Hero. General. He was the best there ever was.
    Butcher. Murderer. Traitor. All that he loved, he had destroyed.
    Matheius Randas.
    That Merciless Blade - Legend of the Arctic Wolf.

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    Senior Member deathblade's Avatar
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    Thanks to everyone for your input about the names, I've read it all and pretty much agree with everything!
    My translations:

    1) 7 Killers by Gu Long. Complete.
    2) Heroes Shed No Tears by Gu Long. Complete.
    3) Kung Fu by Giddens Ko. Work in Progress

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    Old man (2)

    The old man stood up remorsefully, gave a deep bow and left the bookstore. I remained behind, ears burning, still collecting the ripped up paper.

    The boss swept the remaining paper into a wicker dustpan, after which I stood there angrily reading for a few minutes. Then I bought a highlighter and escaped, my face filled with embarrassment.

    Actually, from nose to tail, I remained blame-free for the whole situation. I didnt do anything at all. But I was the kind of person who hated awkwardness, and for something so embarrassing to occur made me want to die [17].

    As I walked home, I couldnt stop thinking about the strange incident.

    Actually, the old man was exceedingly polite, just a bit strange. It didnt seem like he had any ill intentions.

    But to recommend novels to me so enthusiastically, it seemed really weird.

    Whatever.

    It was like a random question mark or exclamation point in life, not even enough to make a complete sentence.

    I was walking through an alley about 300 meters from home. The defective streetlights flickered, causing my shadow to flash back and forth between dark and light. However, I had long since grown accustomed to walking through this alley at night, and had never believed in ghosts or monsters.

    And then, my heart suddenly started beating faster. I couldnt control it.

    A constrictive feeling roiled in the pit of my stomach, as if my whole body was being squeezed by the palm of a giant.

    I forced myself to take a few deep breaths, and walked forward even faster. Inexplicably I, who usually hated going home, suddenly rushed back as quickly as possible.

    This really was a strange alley.

    There was something inexplicably queasy about it.

    Everything had started.

    The whole way home, I felt encompassed by a strange pressure, as if someone was watching me. It vanished the moment I walked through the front gate. I let out a sigh. I felt like I had just surfaced from deep in the ocean and could finally breathe. It was as if I had only imagined that feeling of moments ago.

    Im back. I lowered my head and tossed off my shoes. I wanted nothing more than to dash from the front porch into my bedroom.

    But I knew it wouldnt happen, not any more than a soldier sloshing up onto the beaches of Normandy could avoid bullets. It was a simple truth.

    Yuan Zai! Come and drink some tea! Its top quality stuff from the mainland! The roaring voice belonged to a fat, bald loser.

    He always claimed to bring top quality products from the mainland, and talked everything up as if it were the rarest treasure in the world. But I knew that he was conning my father. He looked like a treacherous court official, and yet I was forced to call him Uncle Wang.

    My dads loser drinking buddies shouted greetings, calling me over to the sofa to check out the rare, ancient teapot they were using and try some of the gourmet tea cakes. And then they proceeded to passionately instruct me how to distinguish the difference between good products and poor products. I think it would be better if they could teach my dad how to pick friends.

    Amidst all the raucousness, my heart felt like a lump of excrement, but my face was filled with an expression that said, Thank you for educating me so well, dear uncles! Its not that I wanted to be a two-faced wolf like them, but rather, a problem with my personality. I never wanted to make anyone uncomfortable, thats all.

    I stayed in the smoke-filled living room for an hour and half, before finally extricating myself and returning to my room. I felt like I hadnt seen it in ages. I was really tired.

    A few days ago, dad had mentioned that in a few months he would go to the mainland to open a factory, because the textiles industry in Taiwan was a quickly becoming a Twilight Industry, as he called it, with no real future. I really wished he would get to the mainland as soon as possible. As far as starting some factories and making some money, I didnt really care. I just didnt want him and his deadbeat friends messing up my life.

    I took a shower and read a bit, then went to sleep. Same as usual.

    The past few days, as I lay going to sleep, I kept thinking that maybe I should take some after-school cram courses. Not because of pressure regarding schoolwork, but because if I did that, it would give me a good excuse to come home late.

    Ah forget it, I grumbled.

    Id keep going to the book store to read novels. At worst, I could read the monolithic Legend of the Swordsman from Mount Zu, and that would leave me with a true sense of accomplishment.

    At that time, I assumed 1986 would pass by in a completely meaningless fashion. I wouldnt leave anything behind, and wouldnt take anything with me. It would be a completely blank piece of paper.

    But!

    Just before I actually fell asleep, I suddenly thought of something very strange.

    I crawled out of bed and grabbed a novel, about one-hundred pages long. I tried as hard as I could to rip it down the middle.

    Just as Id predicted, it was pretty much impossible.

    If you tried really hard to rip it down the spine, to tear it into a front half and a back half, well maybe that was possible.

    But to grab both ends and tear it into a cloud of paper, well that was simply impossible. Even if it was only a hundred pages like this book, it just was not as simple as it sounded.

    I tugged back and forth until my wrists began to ache, but nothing happened to the little hundred-page book.

    That old man at the bookstore had incredible wrist strength! With a laugh, hed casually torn to pieces a novel of nearly three hundred pages. He was old but frighteningly powerful.

    Freak, I grumbled to myself, and then finally went to sleep.

    When it comes to unbelievable things, its best just to sigh and move on. Its stupid to spend time trying to get to the bottom of them.

    The characteristic of curiosity barely existed in me at all.

    The next day I rode my bicycle to school, the same as usual. But the usual part only lasted until I pushed my bike out the door.

    That day, it felt like the pedals of the bike had been weighted down with bricks. Every pedal stroke took effort, and after riding for only five minutes, I stopped at a traffic light panting like a cow.

    It felt like I was going to die at any moment.

    My familys unhealthy lifestyle clearly had an enormously injurious effect on me and was causing my heart to age prematurely and perhaps fatally. But after my parents learned of the situation, would it be possible that they might let me rent a house and live on my own to recover my health?

    My thoughts went wild, and in an instant, my heart started pounding again. It felt as if the blood vessels in my chest had started to expand.

    It was just like the previous night in the alley!

    **

    [17] The Chinese literally says it would cause my cells to quickly die from poisoning.
    [18] The name is Yuan Zai (渊仔) Yuān zǎi. The Yuan means deep or profound. In this case, Yuan is from his given name and Zai a character added on the end as sort of a term of endearment. This is something his family or friends would call him. The closest thing I can think of in English would be if someone's name was Richard, but some people called him Dick, and his friends and family called him Dicky.
    Last edited by deathblade; 06-17-14 at 10:34 PM. Reason: made several tweaks and changes suggested by WesY2K
    My translations:

    1) 7 Killers by Gu Long. Complete.
    2) Heroes Shed No Tears by Gu Long. Complete.
    3) Kung Fu by Giddens Ko. Work in Progress

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    Thanks deathblade for the new translation

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    Great job! Thanks for the quick update!
    --=={Grundle}==--

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    Thanks...been wanting to read Gidden Ko for a while

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    Thanks deathblade

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    Thanks! That's fast...

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    Deathblade, thank you very much for previous translations and now coming up with another good one. Kudos to you.
    lawwoo
    Bonus. A new day.

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